Lithgow has a new Mayor, and despite many on social media posts claiming they have never heard of Stephen Lesslie, the family name has very strong ties to the Lithgow Region.
Raised in Lithgow, Stephen is the son of long time councillor, Mayor and local medical professional, Dr Tom Lesslie.
The family resided in the building now known as the John Joseph building on the top end of Main Street, a property that is fast becoming iconic to Lithgow as it is utilised as a central focus for Halloween lighting displays.
After growing up in Lithgow he moved to Sydney, first for university and then for his work as a hospital scientist which saw him head up laboratories in Sydneys Royal Prince Alfred hospital.
After 25 years working in hospitals he had a change of career to something that got him outside and out of a lab coat and enjoyed a few years as a bus driver in north western Sydney.
During his time in Sydney he spent 16 years on Drummoyne Council, two of those years he was elected as mayor unopposed.
During his time in Drummoyne Council there was a trend of turning old industrial sites into housing and medium density development sites, something he fought against.
“I felt we needed to keep the lands as industrial lands and preserve local jobs” Stephen recalled of this time.
This sentiment will be carried over to his time in Lithgow as the new Mayor has identified local jobs and industry as one his primary focuses
“The Lithgow Local Government Area needs to develop a strategy to attract jobs and industry to our area”, Mr Lesslie said.
Councillor Lesslie has been back in Lithgow for the last three years, however having had his family here his entire life, he has never truly left.
One of the comments doing the rounds on social media paints Stephen as a greenie, however this is not the case.
“I was a member of the Labor party for a number of years, but have never been a member of the Greens. I do think we all have a little green in us and want to save the planet” said Stephen.
Stephen was full of praise for the people of Lithgow who have been very welcoming since his return. He now enjoys bowls and is the current president of the Lithgow Workman’s bowling club.
Despite that public outcry at the events in the Council chamber on Wednesday night, we should give our new Mayor a chance to be judged on his own merits and see what he can do for our town over the next 2 years.